Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has told his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, needs the votes from Rivers State to win the 2023 presidential election, and not his (Wike) logistics support
Mr Umahi urged Mr Wike to deliver the votes of the Rivers State to the APC candidate.
The Ebonyi State governor, a member of the APC, stated this during the inauguration of Akpabu-Itu-Omudiogha-Egbeda Road in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State on Tuesday.
A video clip of the event was posted on Channels TV’s Facebook page.
“You are a doer of promise,” Governor Umahi began.
“We have seen how you promised some candidates logistics support. My party APC doesn’t need logistics. We need votes just for the presidential one only. All I am asking is that presidential one. I will not ask what is impossible. Keep the presidential votes for Asiwaju (Tinubu),” Mr Umahi appealed.
Mr Wike, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been having a lingering face-off with his party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu.
The governor promised logistics support for the campaigns of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and his New Nigeria Peoples Party counterpart, Rabiu Kwankwaso, when the duo recently visited the state to commission projects built by the governor.
Mr Wike and other four governors that make up the G5 have been demanding the resignation of the PDP chairman, Mr Ayu, to pave the way for a southerner to lead the party in order to achieve a “regional balance”.
The governors’ argument is that both Mr Ayu and Atiku hail from northern Nigeria.
PDP crisis: Umahi backs Wike
Mr Umahi also backed the Rivers State governor on his insistence for equity and regional balance in the polity. He said Mr Wike’s fight was in line with the resolution of southern governors in Asaba, Delta State, for power to shift from north to the south.
“You will never depart from that accord. On Asaba accord I stand (too),” Mr Umahi told Mr Wike.
“Your fight is not personal. You are fighting to keep this country together and God is with you. I want to assure you that I am with you in this fight.”
The Ebonyi governor said he too is a supporter of equity and justice, which he said, was his basis for backing calls for the presidency to be zoned to southern Nigeria.
He said he was disappointed to have lost the APC presidential primary, despite calls by northern governors that power should shift to the south in 2023.
Mr Umahi joked that the G5 should be expanded to G6 to include him as a member.
“The G5 is hereby expanded to G6. I am now a member of G6. So, when you want to call a meeting of the integrity group, invite me too. And many other governors want to be part of this because they have seen that there is salvation of the country in what you are doing,” Mr Umahi added.
Mr Wike, in March, asked Mr Umahi to hand over power to the 2019 PDP governorship candidate in Ebonyi State after a Federal High Court in Abuja sacked the governor and his deputy for defecting to the APC after winning election in the state.
The Court of Appeal would later reverse the judgment.
But Mr Wike explained that the disagreement with Mr Umahi at that time was borne out of his desire to protect the PDP.
“Let me publicly say most people thought that you and I were quarreling, (and that) we are not on speaking terms. My dear people, I want to say this, David Umahi has no problem with me personally.
“If there is one governor that David Nwaeze Umahi is very close to, it’s me. I was defending our party when he took our mandate and ran away,” Mr Wike said.
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